Every clinical procedure has some side effects and prolotherapy is no exception. It is a procedure which involves injecting sugar solutions into tendons and ligaments for reducing chronic pain.
Prolotherapy, which is medically referred to as proliferative injection therapy or regenerative injection therapy, is a procedure often used as an alternative to invasive arthroscopic surgery. It is less complicated and time-consuming than arthroscopic surgery.
This therapy involves injecting a non-pharmacological and non-active irritant sugar solution into the body. This solution is called dextrose. It is usually found in the area around the tendons and ligaments, to strengthen the weak connective tissues and reduce musculoskeletal pain.
The sugar solution leads to a localized inflammation in the tendons and increases the blood supply in those areas. Improvement in the blood supply leads to flow of nutrients as well, facilitating the repair of the tissue on its own. It has been reported that this therapy along with spinal exercises and manipulation can relieve back pain. However, this is still under contention. There are apparently a few side effects which are not serious and are very rare.
Nerve, Ligament, or Tendon Damage
The possibility of a nerve being injured or damaged cannot be ruled out. Especially if it is at a spot where the doctor might not have anticipated it to be. In addition to that, the ligament or tendon itself might get damaged. Nerve damage is one of the imminent and serious risks. If the nerve is struck, it causes a tingling and pricking sensation. However, this sensation might resolve in a short period of time.
Pain and Stiffness
This procedure leads to pain and stiffness, in the areas where the solution has been injected. For example, if the procedure has been targeted towards the back, neck, and the adjacent areas, there can be a marked stiffness and muscle pain in those areas. Soreness of muscles is also very common. Further, it could cause inflammation, swelling, and bruising.
If there is pain in the injected area, accompanied by fever, it is an indication that the patient has an infection. However, the chances are low, considering that this procedure is not as invasive and complicated as some other procedures. Antibiotics are prescribed to deal with these infections.
Another potential risk is a burst blood vessel leading to blood loss and bruising. Dizziness could follow this mishap, but it passes with time. However, it would not happen if the surgery is done properly.
Cerebrospinal fluid leak, which is also referred to as a spinal headache, focuses on the back, around the spine and the spinal canal. The leakage occurs when the spinal canal gets penetrated.
This treatment, in very rare cases, could lead to a lung puncture. Subsequently, the lung can collapse. If it is a partial collapse, it can be managed at home, under constant observation and monitoring. Otherwise, the lung would need to be inflated by another surgical procedure, which would require a prolonged stay in the hospital.
Only some of the aforementioned side effects are serious, and some of them like fluid leak and infection, are very rare. Moreover, this procedure does provide relief. Nevertheless, the best way to ensure that there are no undesired effects, is to consult a credible and experienced doctor.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.